People v. Trujillo, H005661

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Citation266 Cal.Rptr. 473,217 Cal.App.3d 1219
Decision Date08 February 1990
Docket NumberNo. H005661,H005661
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Elaine Dolores TRUJILLO, Defendant and Respondent.

Page 473

266 Cal.Rptr. 473
217 Cal.App.3d 1219
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
Elaine Dolores TRUJILLO, Defendant and Respondent.
No. H005661.
Court of Appeal, Sixth District, California.
Feb. 8, 1990.
Review Denied April 26, 1990.

Page 474

[217 Cal.App.3d 1222] John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Richard B. Iglehart, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., John H. Sugiyama, Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen., Morris Beatus, Supervising Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and appellant.

Rose & Arnold and Ronald W. Rose and John M. Wadsworth, San Jose, for defendant and respondent.

AGLIANO, Presiding Justice.

1. Introduction

The People appeal from an order dismissing the prosecution of defendant Elaine Trujillo following the superior court's order granting her [217 Cal.App.3d 1223] motion to suppress evidence. (§ 1238, subd. (a)(7).) 1 The People contend the superior court erred in finding the police failed to comply with the knock-notice requirements of section 1531 in executing a search warrant. For the reasons stated below, we will reverse the order, finding substantial compliance.

2. Scope of review

We note the scope of review of suppression motion rulings has changed due to a 1986 amendment to section 1538.5, subdivision (i). Formerly, whether or not a defendant made a suppression motion at a preliminary hearing, the defendant was entitled to a "de novo" consideration of the evidence by the superior court. 2 Thus the superior court was the fact-finder whose express and implicit factual determinations were given deference on appeals by defendants and the People. (E.g., People v. Lawler (1973) 9 Cal.3d 156, 160, 107 Cal.Rptr. 13, 507 P.2d 621; People v. Leyba (1981) 29 Cal.3d 591, 596-597, 174 Cal.Rptr. 867, 629 P.2d 961; People v. Poole (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 1004, 1010-1011, 227 Cal.Rptr. 594; cf. People v. Long (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 77, 82, 234 Cal.Rptr. 271; see People v. Laiwa (1983) 34 Cal.3d 711, 718, 195 Cal.Rptr. 503, 669 P.2d 1278.) The 1986 amendment, however, makes the findings of the magistrate "binding" on the superior court when a suppression motion has already been brought at the preliminary hearing, except to the extent new evidence is allowed by the superior court. 3

Page 475

While the 1986 amendment could be clearer, it appears intended to make the magistrate the fact-finder and the superior court a reviewing court, bound to resolve factual conflicts and draw inferences in favor of the magistrate's ruling. (People v. Ramsey (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 671, 678-679, 250 Cal.Rptr. 309; Anderson v. Superior [217 Cal.App.3d 1224] Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 533, 544, 253 Cal.Rptr. 651; People v. Williams (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1186, 1191, 262 Cal.Rptr. 303.) 4

An additional consequence of this amendment is that, on further appellate review of a suppression motion, the appellate courts must give the magistrate's express and implicit factual determinations the same deference formerly given those by the superior court. (Ramsey, supra, 203 Cal.App.3d 671, 679, 250 Cal.Rptr. 309; cf. Anderson, supra, 206 Cal.App.3d 533, 545, 253 Cal.Rptr. 651; People v. Drews (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 1317, 1328, 256 Cal.Rptr. 846; People v. Gonzalez (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 1043, 1050, 259 Cal.Rptr. 846.) The former rule of deference to the superior court's factual determinations remains applicable only when no suppression motion was made at the preliminary hearing or when new evidence is allowed before the superior court. (Compare, e.g., People v. Brown (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 849, 854-855, 260 Cal.Rptr. 293, with People v. Perez (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 1492, 1494, 260 Cal.Rptr. 172.)

Defendant first moved to suppress evidence at the preliminary hearing; her motion was denied. She then moved to suppress evidence at a special hearing in the superior court. The superior court correctly recognized it was bound to accept the facts implicitly found credible by the magistrate, as we must on appeal. "Insofar as the evidence is uncontradicted, we do not engage in a substantial evidence review, but face pure questions of law." (Long, supra, 189 Cal.App.3d 77, 82, 234 Cal.Rptr. 271, and cases there cited.)

3. Facts

On May 22, 1987, at about 7:45 a.m., San Jose Police Officer Mark Muldrow, with eight other officers, executed a search warrant at defendant's upstairs apartment. An officer had watched the apartment since 6:30 a.m. that morning and had seen a light go on for a short time before 7 a.m. He believed he had so informed Muldrow prior to the entry. All were wearing uniforms or yellow police raid jackets. Six officers approached the front door. Muldrow knocked four times on the door and announced, "San Jose police, we have a search warrant." After the first series of knocks, he heard "movement" inside the apartment but could not describe it or attach any significance to it. Since there was no response, Muldrow knocked again and waited approximately eighteen seconds from the first knocks before kicking the door in. Several officers had their guns drawn. Inside the apartment were located cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in amounts sufficient for sale, stolen property, and defendant in bed with a male child.

[217 Cal.App.3d 1225] 4. Knock-notice compliance

Section 1531 provides: "The officer may break open any outer or inner door or window of a house, or any part of a house, or anything therein, to execute the warrant,

Page 476

if, after notice of his authority and purpose, he is refused admittance." In People v. Tacy (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 1402, 241 Cal.Rptr. 400, we agreed with People v. Neer (1986) 177 Cal.App.3d 991, 997-1001, 223 Cal.Rptr. 555, that the knock-notice requirements have retained vitality after Proposition 8 because they are grounded in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. (Id. 195 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1413-1414, 241 Cal.Rptr. 400.)

As recognized in People v. Macioce (1987) 197 Cal.App.3d 262, 242 Cal.Rptr. 771, "The purposes and policies supporting the 'knock-notice' rules are fourfold: (1) the protection of the privacy of the individual in his home; (2) the protection of innocent persons present on the premises; (3) the prevention of situations which are conducive to violent confrontations between the occupant and individuals who enter his home without proper notice; and (4) the protection of police who might be injured by a startled and fearful householder." (Id. at p. 271, 242 Cal.Rptr. 771.)

The People cite federal cases to support their contention that, under the circumstances, the eighteen-second delay between knocking and entering complied with the knock-notice requirements. (See generally Anno. (1974) 21 A.L.R.Fed. 820.) However,...

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